Can I Refuse a New Jersey Breathalyzer Test?
Compared to the rest of the nation, New Jersey is tough on drunk drivers. If you are convicted of DWI in NJ, you will be facing mandatory fines, loss of license and potential jail time. Further, you’ll likely be forced to take, and pay for, drunk driving education courses.
Of course, the best piece of advice to follow is: don’t drink and drive. However, if you have been driving and you get caught, don’t compound your problems by refusing to take a Breathalyzer test. You may think, “If the cop can’t prove I’m legally drunk, the charges won’t stick.” Your thinking would be flawed.
If you’re suspected of driving while intoxicated, the police officer on the scene can make you go through field sobriety tests. If this happens, you are required by law to submit to a breathalyzer test. If you refuse, you will be charged with refusing to submit, which carries the same penalties for a DWI. In addition, you can still be charged with a DWI as well as a refusal. Now you are fighting two charges, instead of just the DWI.
The first offense for a refusal includes a loss of your license for at least seven months, multiple fees and fines equaling almost $1,000 along with a $1,000 surcharge and drunk driving education courses. Many of these penalties are doubled if you’re caught in a school zone.
There’s no need to refuse
A well-trained and experienced DWI attorney knows how to dispute positive Breathalyzer test results and drunk driving charges. If your test shows that you are over the legal limit, there are still defenses available to you. Also, it’s much easier to fight a DWI charge than a refusal charge, or both.
Perhaps there were errors in the implementation of the sobriety tests. Perhaps you ate something which can explain your breathalyzer results. Perhaps the arresting officer will be unable to produce a probable cause for pulling you over and administering the test.
The point is that your best defense against a DWI charge is not running from a breathalyzer test, it’s arming yourself with an experienced DWI lawyer.
Contact The Law Offices of John W. Tumelty for excellent criminal and DUI/DWI defense. Mr. Tumelty has been helping NJ residents navigate through drunk driving charges for more than 30 years.